With my first son, I rocked him to sleep everynight. I always wanted to hold him, I didn't mind rocking him, and loved the time spent together. However, my son is now 5. And I still have to rock him sometimes. He has a hard time going to sleep on his own and just last night, he cried until I had to go in and lay with him to go to sleep. The peditrician told me when he was 18 months that if I didn't stop rocking him now I would be rocking a 5 yr. old to sleep and it is so true.
What made it difficult was when we had our second son. I had to give up time with him and get him self soothing and falling alseep on his own, so I had time to rock my older son to sleep. When my husband and I were both ready for our older son to sleep on his own, it was a constant struggle. He cried all the time, would wake up in the middle of the night and wanted to be rocked. It was the only way we could get him to sleep. When we stopped rocking him to try to get him to fall asleep on his own, it would be hours before he would go to sleep, and sometimes we were up unitl 11-12 am still trying to get him to fall asleep without rocking him.
You will pay for it later if he does not learn to self sooth and fall asleep on his own. At the age of 5 we are just now getting him to fall asleep on his own, but like I said sometimes I am still rocking a 5 yr. old.
As for my second son, I would always make sure that I layed him slightly awake when I put him in his crib at night to go to sleep. He has never had a problem sleeping on his own. I would rock him too, but make sure that I lay him down before he feel asleep in my arms and I have never had a hard time getting him to sleep on his own. As long as they fall asleep knowing that they are in their bed then, as for my 2nd son anyway, are okay with going to sleep on their own. My first son I rocked until he was alseep, so he always knew he was in my arms when he slept.
Just a side note after reading some of the other responses. I did not listen to the peditrician when he advised me to get my son to fall asleep on his own. I thought what is it going to hurt if I rock him, I enjoy this time. I thought I would not be rocking him at 5., and you night think now its not so bad to rock a 5 yr. old, but when your tired, and if you eventually have other kids, and you will want time with your husband, and you have to rock your son for an hour to get him to go to sleep, you will mind.